the curious case of the girl with the missing appendix

Yep. That’s me. I’ll start from the beginning.

I’ve always liked doctors, and doctors offices, and hospitals. I used to want to be a doctor, and if it hadn’t been for the fact that I flat out failed my first term of college chemistry, and thus found that my brain is completely useless for all things scientific, I probably would have enjoyed being one. Having said that, my most recent experiences with those who have earned the distinguished MD title, has left me questioning my unwavering admiration.

I’ve also been (knock on wood) a generally healthy individual. I don’t get sick and I don’t get injured. What I do seem to get are tiny, annoying little ailments that, evidently, no doctor can properly diagnose. Most might equate that to a minor case of hypochondria on my part, and I’ll admit that I kind of enjoy self diagnosing myself. Plus, I pay for my health insurance, so my take on it is that I had darned well better use it. On the other hand, I don’t make these things up.

Episode one: My left eye. For years, and for no apparent reason – as I have no known allergies, it periodically turns a shocking shade of pink, hangs out that way for about four days and then returns to normal. Went to a couple eye doctors who couldn’t figure it out. Finally was told that eye was slightly stronger then the other one, and since it had to work slightly harder to compensate for my weaker right eye it periodically got tired and turned red. Prognosis: Right eye’s not weak enough to warrant corrective action, so just deal with it.

Episode two: My right leg. I’ll admit this was totally my fault. I was running down an unimproved road, slipped in a pothole, twisted my leg, got up and kept on with the run. Ran on it for another two years. Naturally, big knot of scar tissue amassed in there. Went to a Sports Medicine doctor who looked at it. Prognosis: nothing he could do, in fact he implied that if I were to actually rip the muscle one of these days, that it would heal back better then normal, so just deal with it.

Episode three, and the whole reason for this blog: the random right sided stomach pain. Going on for about a year and a half. Not bad, just annoying and ever present. Went to Doctor One who gave me an ultrasound and couldn’t figure it out and sent me to Doctor Two. Went to Doctor Two who gave me a CT scan and couldn’t figure it out. Gave up for about a year and blamed it on the ineffectiveness of the Kaiser network. Moved to DC and got “real” insurance. Decided to see Doctor Three who suggested that I see Doctor Four who sent me to Doctor Five for some scans. Doctor Five took two hours of scans and the following conversation ensued:

Doctor Five: “you look fine, except that I can’t find your appendix.”
me: “you can’t find my appendix?”
Dr. Five: “yeah, it didn’t show up on any of your scans.”
me: “huh, OK.”
Dr. Five: “are you sure you still have an appendix?”
me: trying not to laugh at the ridiculousness of the question “no, I’m not sure that I actually have one, but I am sure that one has never been removed.”
Dr. Five: “OK, well Doctor Four will have your results tomorrow”

I go back to work and proceed to relate the story to the entire office, who all find it as amusing as I do.

I call my doctor, Doctor Four, today for the official results.

Doctor Four: “Well Nicole, all your results are fine. Nothing strange about your scans or your results, except that we couldn’t find your appendix.”
me: “that’s what I hear.” and then “Is it possible for someone to have been born without one?”
Doctor Four: “not really” and then…”Are you sure you still have an appendix?” *Apparently this is the million dollar question*.
me: again, stifling how astounded i am at the ridiculousness of this question, and starting to believe that I am actually the one acting strangely here “well, I know that no one has ever
taken one out.”
Doctor Four: “hmmm….have you asked your mother to make sure?” *Is he serious??*
me: “is surgery something that people normally forget?”
Doctor Four: “No, I guess not.”

I’m not exaggerating, those conversations are as verbatim as my memory will allow. Doctor Four’s prognosis? That my appendix is playing hide and seek; has put up a gone fishing sign, if you will. That’s basically the extent of it, and since it is probably somewhere it isn’t supposed to be it’s causing minor discomfort. And, since it doesn’t appear to be in any jeopardy of exploding I should….wait for it…JUST DEAL WITH IT.

Just. Deal. With. It. This has been the prognosis for every doctor visit I’ve had over the last three years. I’m all done with reporting any minor ache, pain or issue that my apparently jaded mind thinks the doctors should be able to fix. I’m officially taking my overworked left eye, my bum leg, and my missing appendix to the Dominican Republic for a week, where we can all relax in ocean side comfort and contemplate the fact that doctors spend years and years and thousands of dollars obtaining a title that allows them to justifiably (and often unquestionably) advise patients to shut up and deal.

I hear them loud and clear.


One comment

Leave a comment! Let's chat.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s